Australia faces loss of Chinese education market

People enjoy a picnic by Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, Australia, August 29, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

While some hawkish Australian politicians are poised to sacrifice the country’s education sector for their geopolitical ends against China, industry watchers warn of a “global blow” to Australia.

China remained the main contributor to Australia’s international education industry, but border closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising anti-Chinese sentiment in the country and worsening bilateral political climate discourage Chinese students from visiting Australian campuses.

Australian universities have openly expressed their struggles, such as budget deficits and heavy job cuts amid the pandemic, but Australian Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos to the United States has fueled Sino-Australian tensions, boasting that the Australia is prepared to bear the economic cost of standing up to China, the Australian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

When hawkish Australian politicians brag that Australia is prepared to shoulder the economic risks of its relationship with China, they are betraying Australia’s own national interests by ignoring the fact that losing the Chinese market would only ” inflict a detrimental impact on Australia’s economy and the well-being of its people, “Chen Hong, professor and director of the Center for Australian Studies at East China Normal University, told The Global Times on Wednesday.

To serve Washington’s geopolitical interests, these politicians would rather risk the partnership with China and arm Sino-Australian economic and trade activities, Chen said, adding that China had never been a rival to Australia.

To lose China’s lucrative education market, Australia would face at least $ 27.26 billion, causing waves of layoffs and economic deficits, the Global Times has learned. Data from the Australian Department of Education showed that the number of Chinese students in Australia was 27.3% of the total in 2019, contributing about a third of the country’s total international education income, or about 184. , 7 billion yuan ($ 27.26 billion).

Some Chinese students in the affected country by the Global Times said that Chinese students, on average, pay around A $ 35,000 (US $ 25,000) in tuition fees per year in Australia, as well as $ 35,000 in housing costs and subsistence per year.

Chinese student incomes have not only supported Australia’s education boom, but also fueled the prosperity of real estate and luxury goods in places where universities are located, education observers said earlier. Chen said the loss of income will also hamper the universities’ education, research and infrastructure projects.

When universities in countries like the UK charter flights for Chinese students to return to campus, the Global Times learned on Wednesday from Air China and China Southern Airlines that there were no plans at this time. ‘charter flights for Chinese students. to Australia.

Hainan Airlines also said that apart from charter flights to the UK, it has no other plans for universities in other countries.

RMIT University and Australian National University are set to increase their layoff targets by more than 50%, while other universities, including the University of New South Wales, have said they will switch to mandatory layoffs after that voluntary redundancies have not resulted in sufficient savings. , reported a Chinese study abroad agency in Australia, citing data from the Australian Financial Review.

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